Friday, July 5, 2013

The Clever Stick - a book review

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."
                                     ~R.J. O'Rourke

Title:  The Clever Stick
Author: John Lechner
Ages: 5-9

Who could believe that a stick could be the primary character in a children's picture book?  This wonderful read-aloud is a great book to share with your kids.  Lechner's words and story are lyrical and feel just like a fairytale.

This author writes: "Ever since he had fallen off the tree, he had been sharp.  He would sit in the sand and think up all sorts of clever things.  He would float down the stream, making up poetry.  He would listen to the singing of the birds and wonderful what made it sound so beautiful."  Stick was very observant, but his problem was he had no voice and could not communicate to those around him.  Lechner proposes a brilliant solution for Stick.  In this uplifting fable Stick discovers that he can draw.  He makes a castle, boats on the lake, a dragon and all the animals and insects around him approve.  Rain washes his endeavours all away but Stick knows he can make more.  He has found his voice.  The artwork fits perfectly with the text.  It is done in subdued colours and is very beautifully done.

In the book there are many ideas to discuss such as the importance of communicating and writing.  You can also explore the importance of flexibility and providence.  I like this book a lot and highly recommend it.  It is a book of self-discovery and knowing the value of yourself.  It is perfect for the beach or a snowy day... read...serve with a stick and have your child use that stick as his/her voice to create words and drawing that are crafted into the sand or snow.

About the Author:

I am a writer, illustrator, animator, musician, puppeteer, and interactive designer. I am the author and illustrator of four books for children, A Froggy Fable, Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest, The Clever Stick, and Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, all published by Candlewick Press.
John's puppetsI grew up as one of seven children, and our house was always filled with art, music and creativity. I played the violin and guitar, and my brothers and sisters all had different creative interests. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, where I studied art and creative writing, I worked as a graphic designer and a puppeteer, designing and building my own puppet shows. For the last fifteen years I have worked at the children’s media company FableVision, where I design games, websites, software and animated films.

Book Review rating:   8  (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!

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